It doesn’t always take a lot to encourage someone—a text message, a pat on the back, a note in the mail, a public word of praise, a high five. We can’t say encouraging words too often. The people around us, young and old, thrive on words of encouragement—it is a key component in strengthening others—and yourself.
Our Encouraging God
Someone has said, “All encouragement is from the Lord; all discouragement is from the devil.” There’s truth in that, for our God is a God of admonition, and His Word is a Book of encouragement.
The apostle Paul told the Romans: “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:4-5, NIV 1984).
He told the Thessalonians: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV 1984).
Those of us who want to encourage others must first learn how to encourage ourselves in the Lord.
Our Encouraging Mission
There are many great examples of encouragement in the Bible, but two stand out. In the Old Testament, Hezekiah is portrayed as a great encourager. Wanting to bring spiritual revival in the land, he “gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the LORD . . .” (2 Chronicles 30:22).
Later when Israel faced the terror of military invasion by Assyria, Hezekiah did the same for his soldiers and national leaders. According to 2 Chronicles 32:6-8, “He set military captains over the people, gathered them together to him in the open square of the city gate, and gave them encouragement, saying, ‘Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”
The great New Testament example of encouragement was Barnabas. Acts 4:36 says, “And Joses . . . was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement).” He encouraged the Jerusalem church with his financial contributions. He encouraged the church in Antioch with his teachings (Acts 11:23). He encouraged Saul of Tarsus (Paul the apostle) to enter the ministry (Acts 11:25-26). He encouraged the Gentile church with sound doctrine in Acts 15:22-31. And he encouraged John Mark (who later wrote the second Gospel) when the young man had faltered and was by-passed for missionary service (Acts 15:36-41).
Think of the power of encouragement flowing from these two men alone! Judah was victorious over the Assyrian army. The doctrine of justification was established in the early church. Saint Paul became the greatest missionary of all time. And John Mark gave us the story of the Gospel of Christ.
That’s just the power of encouragement demonstrated by two individuals. Multiply that by thousands and by millions and imagine how encouragement can change the world.
Our Encouraging Words
Educator Jane Bluestein, in The Win-Win Classroom, tells about a teacher grading an assignment by her second-graders. Most of the papers were completed beautifully, but one student had turned in a paper that was little more than an angry black scribble, and gave evidence of having been crumpled up in frustration. The teacher was tempted to mark-up the paper with a red pen, but she hesitated, what could she say that was positive instead?
She returned the paper bearing the words: “Magnificent Margins!”
It requires a slight change in our perspective, but we can learn to touch the lives of others through encouragement. Take a moment to affirm someone today—we can’t say those words enough.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
 Jane Bluestein, The Win-Win Classroom: A Fresh and Positive Look at Classroom Management (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008), 187-188.